Del Mar thoroughbred racing season begins

   Del Mar opened its thoroughbred racing season Wednesday, July 21.

   Del Mar has more than one local connection. Ramona’s Golden Eagle Farm is one of the premier thoroughbred breeding farms in the nation. Founded in 1972 by John and Betty Mabee, Golden Eagle has produced such racing greats as Best Pal, General Challenge, Dramatic Gold and Excellent Meeting.

   Best Pal was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. this year. For many years the bay gelding held the record for money earned, $5.7 million, by any California bred race horse. His record was beaten by Tiznow.

   Del Mar is open for 37 days of racing in seven weeks. Racing is Wednesdays through Sundays. There’ll also be racing on Sept. 6, Labor Day.

  

   It is believed that undefeated Zenyatta, winner of a record 17 consecutive races, will run on Aug. 7 in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, a Grade I race with a purse of $300,000. The mare has already won the race twice and will go for a record three wins.

   She has won the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on three occasions. She stands as the all-time leading female earner in North America with a total of $6,074,580. In 2009 the bay mare was runner-up to tennis player Serena Williams as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

   Here are some tips. There is plenty of free seating on weekdays. On Saturdays and Sundays there is less. The track will be a sellout on  Saturday, Aug. 28, because there are three stakes races that day, one of which is the $1 Million Dollar Pacific Classic.

   The first post on Aug. 28 is 1 p.m. A sellout means all of the seats are sold, but there will be room in the infield and in the stretch run for railbirds. Aug. 7 will probably be a sellout,  too.

   There are daily handicapping seminars one hour before the first post in front of the Plaza Stage. The first post is 2 p.m. daily except Aug. 28 and on Fridays, when the first post is 4 p.m., and there is a concert after the last race every Friday.

There are also concerts on Saturdays, Aug. 14, 21, 28 and on Sept. 4. Concert admission is free with track admission, but it’s $20 after the final race.

   There is free admission on Wednesdays. Also on Wednesdays there are free programs, seats and half-priced drinks and hot dogs. Seniors over 62 are admitted free on Thursdays. Active members of the military are free every day. Kids under 17 are free with a guardian or parent.

   Del Mar has an excellent play area for children in the infield, and there is a reasonable day camp available for youngsters.

   Get a free Diamond Club card before you enter or once you’re inside the track. With a Diamond Club card you get half-price admission every day and half price off on admission to the Club House, along with other perks.

   If you go to the Solana Beach Train Station, you can park for free and get a free ride to the track and back in a double decker bus.

   The programs have explanations on how to place a wager. It used to be that the minimum bet was $2. Now there are 10 cent bets, 50 cent bets and $1 bets. Some of the 10 cent bets have payoffs of thousands of dollars, but don’t bank on them.

Betting in the automated computer like betting machines is quicker and there are shorter lines. They are easy to figure out.

   Go to have fun and not to make money. There is a reason they call it gambling. If you go with $100 with the hope of returning with $2, you won’t be as disappointed as you will if you go with $2 with the hopes of winning $100.

   Take the time to go to the following websites for more information: www.delmarracing.com or www.delmarscene.com.

   Next week there will be an exclusive interview with a 26-year racing veteran and living Del Mar historian, Backstretch Bob, aka Moosh.

   
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